Munich Leukemia Laboratory (MLL) has entered into a research collaboration with IBM Watson and Illumina to enhance diagnostics and develop personalised treatment tools for leukemia and lymphoma.

The new cognitive technology prototype will focus on aiding researchers in leukemia treatment.

Illumina will provide its NovaSeq technology to MLL, which plans to use the technology to sequence samples from its biobank of more than 500,000 cases.

Watson will then help MLL to interpret the genomic data and other data sources.

The testing processes such as automated phenotyping and genotyping including whole genome sequencing (WGS) and transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) in 5,000 cases will also be included in the project.

The primary focus of the collaboration is to develop a Watson-based technology prototype that can analyse genomic and phenotypic data, in parallel to, medical literature, guidelines and study results, to provide information relevant to leukemia care.

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MLL co-founder and chief executive officer Torsten Haferlach said: “We at MLL are excited to combine our data and knowledge, IBM’s cognitive computing tools, and Illumina’s new sequencing platform to create a new era of insights in leukemia biology that will also drive more personalised treatment strategies.”

"MLL intends to use Illumina’s BaseSpace Informatics suite to streamline data analysis, storage, data curation and aggregation."

MLL intends to use Illumina’s BaseSpace Informatics suite to streamline data analysis, storage, data curation and aggregation.

It is expected that the BaseSpace Sequence Hub Frankfurt site will assist MLL in managing the data as the project scales and facilitates data transfer to IBM Watson.

MLL plans to further combine its genomic data with other clinical data, following additional tertiary analysis using BaseSpace Cohort Analyzer and BaseSpace Correlation Engine.

Image: Illumina's NovaSeq device. Photo: courtesy of Illumina, Inc.